A warning has been issued by Calor Gas against the trend of converting LPG cylinders into wood burners.
The company states it has become aware of a number of websites giving instructions about how to transform or deconstruct LPG cylinders, including videos showing how this can be completed.
It says that as LPG is a highly flammable material, a welding torch or power cutter used on an LPG cylinder, even if it appears to be empty, can cause a violent explosion.
As well as the safety implications of a potential gas explosion, tampering with LPG cylinders or attempting to change their use is also an unlawful offence which could result in prosecution, says Calor.
The company highlights the case of the boss of a St Helens gas supply firm, who was fined £22,500 for causing an explosion by attempting to remove a valve from an LPG cylinder, causing multiple burns both to himself andone of his employees.
Calor states that it as repeatedly asked irresponsible websites and publications to remove their directions, but they have not complied.
Dr Terry Ritter, Calor safety, health and environment manager, said: “Calor cylinders are used widely, whether at home, for leisure or at work and their safety record is exemplary. However, we are seeing an alarming rise in untrained people attempting to cut open cylinders.
“Advice on how to create wood burning-stoves is widespread on the internet. This is not only extremely dangerous, but unlawful.
“We urge anybody considering tampering with one of our cylinders not to do so, because in committing such action, they are putting their own lives at risk.”
Further advice is available on the Calor website at http://www.calor.co.uk/customer-services/lpg-safety/.